Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Back from Bayreuth – The Experience of a Lifetime (Part 3)

So now we come to the final episode of our Bayreuth adventure (see Part 1 and Part 2) – more to share with you and some final thoughts. 

As I’ve already said, it was more of a pilgrimage than a vacation and, like all good pilgrimages, it had its highs and lows.  Artists are not the only ones who suffer for their art.  Wagnerites are sometimes asked to do the same. 

If you’ve been following the last two episodes where I make frequent mention of the heat in the festspielhaus, you’re probably wondering just how hot it was. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Back from Bayreuth – The Experience of a Lifetime (Part 2)

Last time I gave you a little background on how Bayreuth became Wagner’s town (see Part 1)

It is indeed a lovely town and, like Wagner and his wife Cosima, I fell in love with it, too.  It’s not easy to get to Bayreuth.  All roads to Bayreuth seem to go through Nuremberg.  Even the German opera goers who opted for the train instead of driving had to change trains in Nuremberg. 

We flew from Philadelphia to Paris, had a three (plus) hour layover in De Gaulle Airport, flew to Nuremberg and then took the train to Bayreuth.  While I love traveling by train in Europe, hauling heavy luggage (Remember, I needed four complete formal outfits!!) on and off the train was a nightmare. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Back from Bayreuth – The Experience of a Lifetime (Part 1)

We’re back from Bayreuth and the experience of a lifetime.  “How was your vacation?” friends ask, to which I reply, “It was more of a pilgrimage than a vacation.”  And like all good pilgrimages, there were some rough spots along the way.  More about that later. 

For the Wagner fanatic, seeing Der Ring des Nibelungen (“The Ring of the Niebelung”) in the opera house Wagner built for his monumental work is a dream come true.  Wagner’s music does not appeal to all opera lovers, including many of my friends.  It is less accessible than the music of Italian and French operas, which were my first loves.  My opera singer mother hated Wagner’s music so much that she would not allow it in the house.  Listening to the Saturday afternoon opera broadcasts from the Met was a tradition in our home, except on those Saturdays when the opera was by Wagner.  On those Saturdays, the radio was silent.  So, naturally, Wagner became a guilty pleasure for my brother and me, like sneaking cigarettes, which we also did.